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5 Essential Finals Studying Tips

ESM Mentor Justin Scott shares his 5 essential tips for studying for final exams. Don’t go into finals week without them.

1) Rewrite your notes.

One of the biggest mistakes students make is trying to make sense of a whole semester by looking over their lesson-to-lesson or chapter notes. That’s the wrong approach. Condense your notes, using bullet points or short paragraphs with bolded terms. Give yourself something manageable to work with. The more streamlined and organized your notes are, the more you’ll be able to connect the dots on test day. Plus, the act of rewriting and reorganizing your notes will commit them to memory.

2) Turn your phone off

It’s 2015 and try as we might, none of us is free from technology’s vicegrip on our attention spans. The biggest favor you can do for yourself this finals season is to turn that phone off! We know – that’s really, really hard to do. But if you can manage it, you’ll be amazed at how much more efficiently you’ll study. Remember: 30 minutes of focused study is better than one hour of distracted study. The better you follow this rule, the less time you’ll have to spend hitting the books.

3) Partner up

Studying can be fun, believe it or not. Humans are social beings, and we’re no different when it comes to test preparation. Get together with a friend and use flashcards to nail key terminology or important historical events. Walk through challenging math problems and help your friend tackle any weaknesses. Working together has other, less obvious benefits, too. For example, you might not realize you’re weak in an area until you see it done right. Or you might learn that your friend has a great trick for remembering something tough.

4) Know what to expect

Every teacher is different, but at this point in the semester you’ve probably come to know yours pretty well. What have your unit tests looked like? What subjects does your teacher harp on again and again? Use the past to predict the future, and tailor your studying to fit what you expect to see on test day.

5) Ask Questions

If you don’t know what’s up, ask. Don’t go into the test with any uncertainty.